Eco-Lawn™ Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is Eco-Lawn™ ?
Answer: Eco-Lawn™ is a proprietary blend of seven fine fescue grasses that produce a healthy thick green lawn with minimal care requirements. The seven varieties of fine fescue selected for Eco-Lawn™ have specific qualities that make them ideal for a low maintenance turf: they have excellent green color, they do not form uneven clumps (clumping is a common problem with other shade grasses), they show extreme tolerance of both sun and shade, they have fine blades that reduce water loss in hot weather, they grow deep roots that allow them to access ground source water naturally and thus handle drought and resist lawn grubs much better than shallow rooted conventional lawns, they do not require fertilizing, and they are slow growing - reducing mowing by 50%. No other lawn seed blend on the market has the same carefully selected seed mix.
In the eleven years that Wildflower Farm has had Eco-Lawn™ on the market, tens of thousands of homeowners, businesses and municipalities have enjoyed the benefits of reduced mowing and reduced watering, while at the same time eliminating the use of dangerous lawn chemicals.
What species are in Eco-Lawn™ ?
Answer: Eco-Lawn™ is comprised of the following seven fine fescue grasses:
Lifine Slender Fescue
Navigator Creeping Red Fescue
Jasper II Creeping Red Fescue
Longfellow II Chewings Fescue
Heron Hard Fescue
Chariot Hard Fescue
What are the germination rates for Eco-Lawn™ ?
Answer: As is required by law, Eco-Lawn™ seed is independently tested for germination, seed purity and weed seed content. Each year Eco-Lawn™ passes these tests with flying colors. Our 2009 test results show that Eco-Lawn™ is comprised of 99.0% Pure Seed, with a Germination rate of 88%. The test results also show 0.0% weed seed content so you can be assured that Eco-Lawn™ seed is weed free and viable.
I am interested in purchasing Eco-Lawn™ seed. Will Eco-Lawn™ do well in southern climates? We just purchased a new home and we are interested in planting grass in our backyard and thought Eco-Lawn™ sounds just like what we are looking for!
Answer: Eco-Lawn™ is a low maintenance, drought tolerant turf grass that in most situations requires no watering, no fertilizing and very little mowing. While Eco-Lawn™ will grow in southern climates, since you do receive some very hot and dry conditions at times, you will need to water it once or twice a week depending on the weather.
What makes Eco-Lawn™ drought tolerant?
Answer: Eco-Lawn™ is drought tolerant for two reasons. First, it produces grass blades that are extremely thin. Typical lawn grass varieties have thick, succulent blades that require a great deal of water to maintain turf structure and health. The thin blades of Eco-Lawn™ are less susceptible to desiccation. Eco-Lawn™ also creates an exceptionally deep root system. Most lawns support roots only a few inches in length, necessitating frequent watering. The roots of an established Eco-Lawn™ penetrate up to nine inches in hard pan clay and 14 inches in sandy soils, siphoning up residual subterranean moisture throughout the growing season.
How many gallons of water a year will I need to water my Eco-Lawn™ compared to traditional lawn seed such as Kentucky bluegrass?
Answer: A standard Kentucky bluegrass or perennial rye lawn requires one to two inches of water a week. For a 1,000 square foot lawn, that amounts to more than 100,000 thousand gallons a year! Eco-Lawn™, however, requires minimal watering. In central and southern California, no more than 17,500 gallons of water are necessary for a 1,000 square foot Eco-Lawn™ from April through October and only 25,600 gallons for the whole year. To compare how much water you are now using vs. Eco-Lawn™ please try using our online Water Calculator.
When is the best time to sow Eco-Lawn™ ?
Answer: Like all turf blended grass seed, Eco-Lawn™ is best sown in cool, moist conditions (approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 Celsius). For most of North America, the best time to sow Eco-Lawn™ is in early autumn or early spring. In California and other warm climate areas, November - January is the ideal time to sow Eco-Lawn™
Why doesn't Eco-Lawn™ need fertilizing?
Answer: Eco-Lawn™, unlike traditional turf grasses, creates a deep root system. It will make roots up to 9 inches deep in hard-pan clay soils and up to 14 inches deep in sandy soils! These deep root systems enable Eco-Lawn™ to naturally source the nutrients it requires from the soil so you don't need to add chemical fertilizers!
Why doesn't Eco-Lawn™ need pesticides?
Answer: Eco-Lawn™ is less vulnerable to many insects that love to destroy shallow rooted sod lawns. The common predator is grubs. Grubs are the larvae of June Bugs and non-native Japanese Beetles. These creatures live as grubs in moist soils for two years and then emerge as adults in early summer. The adults only live for about 6 weeks, so their number one goal is to reproduce! In nature the female beetles, once pregnant, lay their eggs in the moist soils of pond edges and stream banks. Today, grubs are most often found in well-watered lawns. Traditional lawns have no real root systems and demands that you water them, making the soil surface of your lawn soft and damp - the exact conditions that the female beetles want to lay their eggs in! Since Eco-Lawn™ requires very little, watering once established, the surface of the soil is hard and thus it is less attractive to the adult beetles looking to lay their eggs. They simply go somewhere else to lay their eggs!
Eco-Lawn™ is less vulnerable to many other lawn insect pests because its deep and dense root system makes an inhospitable environment for many insects that like to live just below the surface of a shallow rooted sod lawn. Many insect pests like to eat the exotic grasses such as Bermuda and Kentucky Blue but are not attracted to the Eco-Lawn™ fine fescue grasses.
Furthermore, a study conducted by Cornell University in 2007 has determined that fine fescues, of which Eco-Lawn™ is comprised, are actually allelopathic. This means that the grass itself exudes a natural, broad-spectrum herbicide, which is an amino acid called meta-tyrosine in large amounts. This natural herbicide inhibits other plants (weeds) from growing in Eco-Lawn™ naturally and this allelopathic quality is, at the same time, non-harmful to humans or pets.
Pesticides are therefore not required for Eco-Lawn™ care - an incalculable value to any family with children and pets.
Is Eco-Lawn™ genetically modified (GMO)?
Answer: No! None of the species in Eco-Lawn™ are genetically modified
When will my Eco-Lawn™ be fully established?
Answer: Any newly seeded lawn including Eco-Lawn™ will take a full year to become established and mature. So for example if you do your first seeding in November your lawn will be fully mature by the following November. It might give you some perspective to bear in mind that a roll of sod needs one to two years of growth before it is available for sale! A bit of patience with your new Eco-Lawn™ will result in a beautiful, low maintenance, chemical free lawn!
Can I overseed an existing lawn?
Answer: Simply overseeding an existing lawn will not result in an instant conversion to a low maintenance Eco-Lawn™ as your existing lawn and Eco-Lawn™ will compete with one another. However, if you were to overseed your old lawn each year for approximately 4 to 5 years or twice a growing season (for a few seasons), it will become a true Eco-Lawn™. In the meantime, you will need to regularly mow the existing lawn. So while this method will work, it does take time, patience and regular overseeding.
What is the overall cost of installing and maintaining an Eco-Lawn™ ?
Answer: Typical installation and maintenance costs for a 1,000 sq. foot Eco-Lawn™ over a ten-year period is just $1,500.00 -This includes seeding, watering and mowing once a month (No pesticides or fertilizers are needed and only minimal water is required). By comparison, a 1,000 square foot lawn planted with traditional turf blends costs $8,000.00 to install and maintain over a ten-year period. This includes, seeding, watering, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides and mowing-once a week. So Eco-Lawn™ will save you $6500.00 over a ten-year period!
Will Eco-Lawn™ grow in clay soil?
Answer: Yes, Eco-Lawn™ has no trouble growing in clay soils! The key to success with clay soils is to ensure that the soil is kept moist during the critical germination phase as clay soils tend to dry out quickly. Mulching the area with a light covering of straw will help hold soil moisture very well.
Will Eco-Lawn™ grow in completely sandy soil?
Answer: Eco-Lawn™ can grow in very sandy soils, but if you are seeding at a beach-type property with pure beach sand, you need to top dress with about 2 inches of quality top soil. Adding topsoil inevitably introduces weeds, so lay the soil a couple of weeks before you seed, so that you can eliminate the newly sprouted weeds before sowing your Eco-Lawn™.
Do I need to add topsoil?
Answer: Eco-Lawn™ will thrive in any soil ranging from sandy soil to compacted clay soil. You won't need to add topsoil unless you are attempting to grow an Eco-Lawn™ on pure beach sand. Pure sand or very sandy soil will require a 3" layer of topsoil. Please be aware that all topsoil is full of weed seeds! Before seeding your Eco-Lawn™, water the topsoil regularly as if you had seeded a lawn. This will encourage the weed seeds in the topsoil to germinate and grow. Once the weeds are about 2 inches tall, eradicate the weeds. This can be done with rototilling or hoeing or by an application of an organic herbicide.
What if the topsoil is already there? I didn't realize until too late not to add topsoil and now I have thousands of weeds growing in my newly seeded Eco-Lawn™ ! What can I do!
Answer: First of all don't panic! Second, be sure to mow your Eco-Lawn™ regularly. Mowing regularly will ensure that none of the weeds produce seed that will make MORE weeds. Secondly, be sure to overseed generously during your next cool/moist time slot. Remember, as your Eco-Lawn™ matures, it will crowd out a majority of the weeds.
Is Eco-Lawn™ available in sod rolls?
Answer: Since Eco-Lawn™ creates a deep root system it cannot be sold as a sod. When Eco-Lawn™ is cut like sod, its roots are severed and it dies. Since it is the deep roots that enable Eco-Lawn™ to be drought tolerant, we can only offer it in seed form. That said, Eco-Lawn™ does germinate quickly and will form a dense turf over a full growing season.
Will Eco-Lawn™ grow under large trees?
Answer: Yes, Eco-Lawn™ is one of the only things that will grow under large trees. This includes both evergreen and deciduous trees. However, we strongly recommend that during the first season of growth, that you treat these areas as if you were in extreme drought conditions and water it deeply at least once a week. Large trees absorb a lot of water and they dry out the soils underneath of them. Once your Eco-Lawn™ has had a chance to get itself fully established, (and like any newly seeded turf grass this does take a full year) its deep root system will enable it to compete with the trees and you won't need to water except in extreme droughts.
Is Eco-Lawn™ salt tolerant? "I am interested in using Eco-Lawn™. The concern I have is that I live at the seaside. Is your product salt water compatible to this type of situation?"
Answer: Most typical turf grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass are not very salt tolerant, however studies conducted by the USDA and the University of Wyoming, have shown that fine fescue grasses (of which Eco-Lawn™ is comprised) are more salt tolerant to the road salt used by many municipalities, so you should be fine.
Does Eco-Lawn™ go dormant in winter?
Answer: The answer depends upon where your location. If you live where you'll get snow coverage, then yes, Eco-Lawn™ will in the winter months go dormant and be brown once the snow melts. It will then green up quickly in spring. If you live in an area that does not get much in the way of snow, it will stay green all year.
Will Eco-Lawn™ take over my neighbor's lawn?
Answer: Eco-Lawn™ is not aggressive so it won't take over your neighbor's lawns. Nor is it passive, so it won't be taken over either.
"How well does the Eco-Lawn™ hold up to traffic? I have two large dogs that run like crazy in the back yard and I want to make sure this will survive."
Answer: Eco-Lawn™ is designed for moderate, normal household traffic usage. If your two dogs run in constant circles in your back yard, no lawn grass will be able to withstand this! If they simply run around on it but do not wear paths into your current lawn, then Eco-Lawn™ will be fine.
Is Eco-Lawn™ difficult to plant?
Answer: No! Spreading the Eco-Lawn™ seed is quick, easy, and does not require any special equipment (although many people use a spreader, hand spreading is fine). Covering 1,000 square feet takes only minutes! As with all grass seed, preparing your site and ensuring that you follow watering guidelines during the establishment phase are critical to the success of your new lawn.
How much seed do I need?
Answer: Each 5 lb bag covers 1,000 square feet - enough for many residential lots yards in the city. 50 lb bags are also available, which cover 10,000 square feet. If you are doing a larger installation, plan for 220 lbs of Eco-Lawn™ seed per acre of lawn.
How quickly does Eco-Lawn™ germinate ?
Answer: Eco-Lawn™ typically takes 7-14 days to germinate, but germination time can vary significantly depending on temperature and moisture levels. Seed planted when nighttime temperatures are above regularly above 15 degrees Celsius (50 F) will not germinate without daily watering and may wait until cooler days to germinate. Seed planted in late fall may wait happily under snow cover until early spring to germinate.
Can I keep left over Eco-Lawn™ seed for next year ?
Answer: Yes! Like most perennial seeds, Eco-Lawn™ loves to be stored under cold or freezing conditions. Simply store unused seed in the garage (in a well sealed container). This actually helps with germination the next spring.
Eco-Lawn™ sounds too good to be true; why haven't I seen it in my local garden supply store?
Answer: Since Eco-Lawn™ does not require any fertilizers or pesticides, (which make up a large percent of many garden stores profits), until recently many have been reluctant to carry Eco-Lawn™ . Eco-Lawn™ is now carried by an increasing number of forward thinking garden specialty suppliers.
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